30 ways to love your husband (Singapore edition)

I got the idea for this post when the other day, I bought my hubby his favourite teh si siu dai (tea with evaporated milk, less sugar). I knew he had had a rough morning with the kids and was feeling tired. His eyes perked up when I handed him the drink at the door and he melted into a happy boy smile. It was then I knew that it only takes a small act of thoughtfulness to let our loved ones know that they are loved.

If you have an idea to contribute, do leave us a comment!

30 ways to love your husband

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1) Consciously try not to nag. If you really need his help with something, WhatsApp him or add it to his wunderlist or evernote.

2) Surprise him with his favourite teh-si or kopi siu-dai when he’s had a hard day.

3) Buy him his favourite chicken rice or mee pok when he’s hungry. Better still, learn to cook these at home.

4) Open the envelopes of his mail and place contents in a neat pile for him to go through.

5) Buy him a tee that says “Best daddy. Ever.”

6) Make time for sex and intimacy. This is very important. ‘Nuff said.

7) Don’t criticise him when you notice he’s doing things wrongly while taking care of baby. Give him clear instructions as to how to improve, and affirm him for helping out.

8) When you need help with something, don’t bark your orders at him. Begin with something like this, “honey, I know you’re busy but can you help me with X, Y, Z?” and end with “you’re the best, sweetie.” or “what would I do without you?” Of course, mean what you say…

9) Buy him his favourite bottle of wine. Better yet, make time to enjoy a glass together.

10) Go easy on your credit cards for a month.

11) Plan an adventure or holiday you know he’s always wanted to have.

12) Don’t laugh at his grammar mistakes on a daily basis.

13) Laugh at his jokes (even when no one else does, or even when it’s not sooo funny.)

14) Have clear instructions written down for everything, including how to make/warm baby’s milk, how to give medication if the kids are ill, etc etc. So you avoid potential areas of miscommunication. (It may come naturally for you, but recognise that he may struggle with such little details.)

15) Give lots of verbal and non-verbal affirmation. Try not to criticise. Period.

16) Do everything within your means to support his dreams and career choices.

17) Help him with little things when he’s busy, such as collating his taxi receipts for claims at work, and sticking them onto paper for scanning and filing.

18) Keep your shared work-spaces neat and tidy.

19) Show appreciation when he makes the effort to tidy up the house.

20) Give him time and space to cool off after an argument. Don’t force him if he can’t talk or resolve the conflict immediately.

21) Don’t force him to talk when he doesn’t want to. If there’s an important matter to discuss, schedule it at a good time, and give him a heads-up.

22) Be all ears when he wants to talk (since this doesn’t usually happen very often…)

23) RESPECT him as head of the household. Don’t contradict him in front of the kids, or other people for that matter.

24) Take his criticisms well and make an effort to improve on the areas that he points out.

25) Teach him to communicate in a way that makes you feel loved and cherished. (This is win-win, right?)

26) Make an effort to look good. Be happy and grateful.

27) Offer grace and forgiveness even if he doesn’t deserve it.

28) Discuss important matters with him before making a decision, especially those that affect him and the family.

29) Ask him how you can love him better, then do what he says. (You can’t go wrong with this approach!)

30) Focus on his strengths, affirm them. Weaknesses? Give him ideas on how to improve.

I asked some male friends and the other-halves of fellow blogger mums to contribute to today’s topic. Here’s what they had to say:

“I like it when she shows me respect as the head of the household. On a more personal level, I love it when she shows me physical affection (ie hugs, or even hand holding) when we are in public.” – E-gene

“Do something out of the ordinary together, like learn ballroom dancing with me.” – David, husband to blogger mum Angeline

“To be supported and appreciated for what I’m naturally good at.” – singer songwriter Andy Philip

“Know when I try too.” – Roboman, husband to Corsage

“Follow the plan.” – Mel

“Put the kids somewhere so we can go out for a movie on our own.” – D, husband to blogger mum mummybean

“Wake up at 4am and go exercising with me” – Matthew, husband to blogger mum (and board game enthusiast) Pamela

“Put down the phone and talk to me.” – Gabriel (oops, I think we’re all guilty of this one.)

What’s your husband’s favourite way for you to show more love to him? Go on and ask, it’s your turn now. ;)

How grace works in a marriage

I read this quote by Paul Zahl (from an article by Gospel Coalition):

Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver (the one who loves) in relation to the receiver (the one who is loved) that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…Grace is one-way love.

What does it mean to give grace? Grace is probably one of the hardest things to grasp. Perhaps because it’s so uncommon in our daily lives.

But if you’ve been a recipient of grace, you know how to be a giver too. In marriage (as in daily life), I find it hard to be the one who gives grace. But I do know how to receive it.

I receive grace when I’ve been rude to the husband, or nonchalant in my attitude, and he takes it in his stride.

I receive grace when I forget to put the phone down and ask him about his day. Yet he doesn’t grumble or nag at me.

I receive grace when the kids have made me grouchy and sulky but he rubs my back and says “it’s okay, let’s see how we can make this better.”

I see grace when I’m feeling lousy but he accepts me as I am, weaknesses and all.

I see grace when he lets me vent my frustrations, and doesn’t shut me out.

I see grace when after I’ve lost it and yelled at the kids, he doesn’t put me on a guilt trip, and sits down and troubleshoots with me instead.

And whenever I receive grace, I’m better able to spread some around, even to the kids.

When they rant and rage, I see that all they need is to let it all out, and not punish them for feeling those big emotions but work with them on how to feel better after. (I wish I always manage to stay in control, but unfortunately I’m no saint. But when I do manage to stay calm, I find it makes it easier for them to regulate their emotions and calm down.)

When they are unreasonable and unloving, I can choose to STILL be reasonable and gentle. I need to remember that I always have that option. (And erm…exercise it more.)

But then, what if we take grace for granted? (It’s easy to, isn’t it?) What if they push it further?

I could choose to bully my husband and take advantage when he’s in grace mode. But somehow I don’t. If grace is one-way love, then I must say it usually gets a reciprocal effect. It gives back.  If grace is all about the giver, I feel propelled to want to be a giver too.

Because when I accept the grace that he’s offered with his open hands, I feel unworthy, almost indebted.

Also, I’m reminded that the biggest grace of all, is the one when Christ paid for my sins by dying on the cross. I can’t even begin to repay that debt.

What I can do though is to offer the same grace to others who need it as much as I do.

Grace is like a bunch of summer blooms shoved under your nose when you’re feeling blue. What are the ways you see grace at work in your family? Please share. We all need a touch of grace…

grace is one way love

Little Lessons: Kids can be a great make-up tool

I remember the time when Vera and Javier received a lollipop each from a kind elderly lady on the street. It happened out of the blue and before I knew it, the kids were holding their lollipops with glee all over their faces. I gave the husband the eye when he said nothing and just allowed the kids to hold on to their precious candy. I opened my mouth and was about to say my peace when he suddenly exclaimed, “just relax lah, okay.”

I was taken aback by his angry tone, so taken aback that I stormed off and walked home first, without waiting for everyone. (Not very gracious I know…)

I confess, I’m a nazi when it comes to sweets. All manner of them are banned from my home. I do allow the kids chocolate and biscuits though, and we have a small tin of goat’s milk sweets that they get treated to on occasions too.

I digress.

Back home, I shut myself in the room, just seething inside. When the clan got home, I didn’t even go out to see them. I just didn’t feel like talking to anyone.

Then came a knock on the door. Vera popped her head in and said, “Mummy?”

I asked her to come in. She came to stand beside my bed, where I was seated. Then she said, “Are you still angry? Papa asks you not to be angry anymore…”

Then she grinned. And I did too. As if on cue, the husband waltzed in. He peeked and saw the coast was clear. He sat down beside me, rubbed my shoulders and apologised for what he had said. Of course, I was already disarmed by our little girl.

Plus it was hard to act angry while smiling.

“Okay,” I said sheepishly.

And that was how we made up.

So, don’t underestimate your little ones. They could be little agents in disguise. ;)

little agents in disguise

This is post #17 of our weekly Little Lessons series. If you have a life lesson to share with us, please link up below!

mamawearpapashirt

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Love is… (a wife’s perspective)

Love. Before and after marriage

Before we got settled down, our love was like a campfire. Sparks flew, romance sizzled, and everything that stood in the way of love risked getting burnt.

Flowers were plentiful. So were chocolates, and romantic dinners.

After marriage, or should I say after children, love has taken a pretty different turn.

With most of our energy focused on running the household and caring for the kids, the love we share now is more like leaving the light on for the other to find his way home, like cooking dinner that isn’t burnt beyond recognition, like changing a blown lightbulb or fixing a leaky tap.

It’s a very functional kind of love. Practical and often solution-focused.

As a wife and mom of three, I surprise myself at the simple things that make me feel loved and valued…When the lightbulbs in the house are all in working order, when the rechargeable batteries are recharged, when the husband makes an effort to come home early to play with the kids, when he encourages me to go out and get a breather (or exercise or do whatever).

I feel amazingly loved whenever I see him playing crazy with the kids or smothering them with his love and kisses.

I feel awesomely superbly loved when he is patient with me (even when I don’t deserve it.)

Of course the once-in-a-while romantic dinner or stealing a quick coffee and breakfast in the morning works wonders for me too.

Also, when he listens to my ideas and acts as my sounding board. (Not least because he often ends up giving a different perspective, and logical reasoning and processes to follow.)

Ahh…these mundane little acts of love. They speak loud and clear. They say to me that I am loved, cherished, and that I mean something. Or perhaps, that we (as family) mean something. A really important something.

So while before marriage, love was a fuzzy warm feeling in the belly, a skip in the heart. After marriage, it hardens and becomes far more tangible. Like cotton clouds to a diamond being polished. It hardens to withstand the tests of time and storms. As dirty and sweaty as doing the dishes or changing a poopy diaper, yet never more real than it was before.

So honey, thank you for the toilet breaks, for taking over when I’m on the brink of losing it, for giving me room to grow and get better at parenting, and for those many awesome times when you bought me chocolate cake when I needed it most.

Now those (especially the chocolate cake) truly top up my love tank.

Happy anniversary to us.

A Juggling Mom Motivational Monday

Little Lessons: Gifts of love

Dear hubby,

You’ve given me many gifts throughout our marriage but today I’d like to single out two of these.

Laughter. And zen.

Since our dating days, you’ve already been making me laugh. I guess that’s what attracted me to you in the first place. Sometimes it’s a silly joke, or the funny things you say or do.

Then when we had our first baby, things got stressful for a long while as we adapted to the new life. I often had difficulty seeing the lighter side of things but you helped me along.

And now as we settle into life with three, you recently cracked me up again. So hard it actually hurt my ribs a little.

Here’s my account of what happened…(Though words can only say so much and I wish I’d videoed the entire scene down.)

Because of you, I now believe that every married couple who wants to stay married must laugh. A lot…

You’re also the zen one.

My friends used to label me zen, but that was before kids came into the picture.

Today I’m often frazzled and stressed out as a mum (perhaps more seasoned now and able to let go, but still…)

You on the other hand are usually calm and patient. It takes a lot for the kids to drive you up the wall. (But when you do get there you tend to stay there for a long time.)

You’ve taught and encouraged me to stay calm, and not shout or yell to get my way.

Just the other night when JJ was acting up, you were just about to cane him. But I went in and started to speak to him in a low calm voice. And I believe that it somehow helped to calm him, and you, down as well. When we left the room, I felt a sense of peace. I was like, hey I can do this parenting thing without yelling.

Granted I still have my moments, but I think it’s because of you that I’ve come this far.

What is it they say about a partner bringing out the best in a person. Yeah I think something like that has happened around here.

Every marriage needs a variety of ingredients to thrive. For me, the laughter and zen that you’ve brought to my life (and the family) have been both precious and practical.

Of course then there’s the romance and communication aspects that could always have room for improvement. But I shall save those for another post.

Thank you for making marriage and family life fun and calm for me. We’ve come a short distance, and we still have a long way to go. But I’m glad to be walking this road of life and love (plus a bit of crazy) with you.

xoxo

keep the love alive

mamawearpapashirt

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The wedding ring


I am one happy preggy mother.

Now that I’ve gotten my ring back onto my “married” finger.

Yes since I’ve had Vera, my fingers (and the rest of my body) have never been quite the same again.

I haven’t been able to fit into my wedding band for close to 5 years now.

Recently, I pulled it out from my ring box and lamented to the hubby. He looked at my ring, a sweet size 11, and said “hey there are three diamonds on your ring…each one represents our three kids!”

That sparked off an immediate desire in me to get my ring resized, asap.

I had not put three and three together, you see, until he said it. (Men have a surprising ability to add fresh perspective into our world, no?)

So now, the ring is resized, and I can finally fit into it again.

We actually designed our own wedding ring as hubby knew a craftsman who was able to make the bands for us at a sweet deal.

Hubby simply provided him a sketch of what we had in mind. If you take a close look, our ring has these key elements:

  • The white and yellow gold – representing the both of us as unique individuals coming together as one
  • A wavy line between the white and yellow gold – symbolising the ups and downs of marriage life
  • Three small diamonds (only on my ring, not his) represent us and God, with God at the head of our marriage. (Of course, this has taken on a new dimension, with our three children.)

Now I just need to watch my weight so I don’t end up not fitting my ring again! :P

Wearing our wedding ring on my finger again reminds me of what we’ve been through the past five years. Marriage can be such a fragile thing these days…We all need to make the effort to work hard at it, and be intentional about choosing to love with our actions, words, and thoughts.

Sometimes we are eager to make our partner “fit” into our expectations and preferences…but do we make it a point to fit into their world too?

What are some of the little things you have done (or can do) to be a good fit with your spouse? 

A Juggling Mom Motiviational Monday

What we did during our chillax babymoon at the Gold Coast

What makes a good babymoon?

Good food.
Good company.
Lotsa chillax.
Beautiful sunrises.
Walks by the beach.
Being able to shower at my own leisure.
Good coffee.

Yes, so we enjoyed every bit of our babymoon at the Gold Coast. What made it all the more enjoyable was the presence of good friends with whom we shared a suite. (What about the privacy, you ask? Well, it really didn’t matter, it was fun to have good friends to hang out with, talk to, plan outings together, and even get lost together.)

So here are the special places we visited that’s worth a mention. (Disclaimer: this itinerary is only suitable for people looking to chillax, not to do touristy stuff.)

1. QT hotel

We were really happy with our stay at QT. The hotel was swanky and new with a cheery retro vibe.

QT_2

QT_3

Even the coffee at Fixx cafe downstairs was good.

QT_4

QT_room

Our room was comfy, and the breakfast at Bazaar restaurant was stupendous.

QT_breakfast

It was a stone’s throw from the beach so we took walks almost every morning. We even packed a simple picnic for breakfast one morning.

picnic_beach

beach_vj
The only downside was the construction that obstructed most of the roads leading to the hotel. So we had some trouble the first two days finding the right turns to the one single road that led us there.

2. Burleigh farmers’ market @Burleigh Heads State School

I just love oogling at the fresh local produce and we could not resist bringing some veg and fruits home with us. We were planning to do a BBQ for lunch the next day so we bagged some mushrooms, avocado, carrots and zucchini home.

Also pretty good for shopping, with local designers setting up stalls all around. I even bought some super-soft breast pads for breastfeeding from this cloth nappy store.

3. Miami farmers’ market @Miami State High School

We arrived at the market just an hour before the closing time of 11.30am, and may have missed some of the stalls that sold meat and cheeses. But we did walk away with some organic macadamia nuts AND the best organic coffee I’ve ever tasted. And from this humble coffee machine mounted to the back of a van too!

Miami_farmers_market

4. Lukas fish and chips @Shop 2, 1114 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

We heard about this place from a friend who’s been living in Brisbane for years, and decided if she’s raving about it, it’s worth a visit. We ordered the battered cod and crumbed snapper, and the fish pieces arrived tender and juicy, with yummy fries too. We packed takeaway and sat chomping away on a grass patch next to the beach. This is da life.

Lukas_fish_chips

5. Black Coffee Lyrics @Shop 41, Centre Arcade, Surfers Paradise

This was touted on some website as being a top coffee place at the Gold Coast. The joint seems to be more into specialty coffees, and also serves up a variety of food for lunch and dinner. We ordered a latte and it was yummy, although slightly strong for my taste.

Black_coffee_lyrics

6. Amimoto @Shop 13, Lido Arcade, Surfers Paradise

Fresh fish, great sushi. The guys came back here for chirashi don twice within a span of two days. Guess that says it all. Comes in generous helpings too. Definitely value for money.

chirashi

7. Hakataya ramen @Shop 26, Centre Arcade, Surfers Paradise
The cha-shu ramen here comes with soft pieces of tasty cha-shu. The soup base is good too. It’s a small place so the queue starts as early as 5.30pm for dinner, so be sure to get there early or be prepared to wait.

8. Elk Espresso @ 16 Chelsea Ave, Broadbeach (near Broadbeach park)

We stumbled upon this cafe after having a BBQ at the nearby park. The decor was so inviting, we couldn’t help but stop really…The coffee did not disappoint.

Elk_espresso

9. Three Monkeys Coffee & Tea House @58 Mollison St, Brisbane city

The coffees and cakes here are to die for. We had the flourless chocolate mousse, which was gone in a hurry, and the lemon tart, which was absolutely delightful. As we were on our way to the airport, this really rounded off our trip on a good (sweet) note.

PS.

While we really missed the kids, and skyped with them daily, I must say (without any tinge of guilt) that this trip was really good for the both of us. Just to connect and well, enjoy each other again. After all, we won’t be able to travel much once number 3 arrives at the end of the year.

I must say that I love going to places where we have friends and good company. I’m especially thankful that I managed to meet my friend’s sis-in-law, who is a trained midwife. She gave me some home remedies and TCM pills to help ease my UTI problem (that hasn’t really gone completely away). Will share more about that in my next post.

7 things my marriage has taught me

I’ve been married to the man for about five years now. All in all, when I look back, I feel like we’ve been on the fast track almost all the way. After being married for barely three months, we found out that I was pregnant with Vera. Soon after Javier happened. And now bun number three is in the oven.

(Yah I know we’ve been richly blessed in such a way, and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but boy sometimes I do wonder “what if” things didn’t happen so quickly…)

But you know there IS good in all the change and challenges. We’ve been forced to move beyond our selfish wants and desires, in order to meet the needs of family. (If there’s something that can make a person less selfish almost overnight, it’s got to be parenthood.)

But I digress…Here are a few things that my marriage has taught me over the past few years of transition.

1) In order for the marriage relationship to thrive, we need to move from a “me” to “we” mindset

We all enter into this relationship with a tendency to focus on our needs, not on the other party. I honestly believe it will take a lifetime of training before we can confidently say that we are truly other-centred.

But if we start each day asking ourselves, how can I serve my spouse today, we are off to a good start to this lifelong journey of learning and moulding. Don’t you think?

2) Flaws are meant to be overcome, not ignored

Early in my marriage, I realised that I had plenty of insecurities to deal with. I was possessive over my husband’s time and practically wanted to monopolise every minute that he had.

Needless to say, we were quarreling over little things because of the missed expectations. The poor man could barely understand why I got vexed whenever he made appointments without consulting me.

I had to come clean with my innermost feelings and insecurities, and communicate them to him in such a way that we could work out a suitable compromise.

He tried to take steps to let me know early whenever he made plans. I also came to understand why he needs his personal space, and how that actually works for our benefit.

It wasn’t always smooth-sailing, but as I consciously prevented those niggling doubts from taking hold and sowed trust into the relationship, things got more manageable.

Change begins from me. When we make the effort to grow individually as a person, the benefits that we bring to the marriage partnership flow many times over.

3) No one knows your feelings until you voice them out

However well you think you understand each other, or however strong your intuition may be, it’s still best to not make our own assumptions, and to hear from the horse’s mouth.

I learnt that the man was often clueless about how I felt, even when I showed signs of “obvious” displeasure at certain things he said or did. That’s when I realised I should never assume that he understands how I feel, and that all I need to do is to find the right time to share my feelings with him.

4) It’s always good to check your love tank

Each one of us has an emotional love tank. Some of us need quality time and words of affirmation to top it up. Others need acts of service or gifts or lots of hugs and cuddles to keep it filled. Whatever works, it’s best to know when we’re running low, and to express your needs to your spouse.

We can all take a page from The love dare:

“Love, however, is your primary responsibility in marriage. Did you not vow to a lifelong love at the altar? Are you not the one God has privileged to fill your mate’s love tank? And remember this: when your spouse deserves your love the least, that’s when they need your love the most. No one on earth is more strategically positioned, commanded, and called on to love your spouse than you are.”

5) Even if you’re not in the wrong, you can still take the initiative to make up

Saying sorry isn’t only the prerogative of the person at fault. When there’s a quarrel, usually both parties are at fault in some way anyway, so just go ahead, swallow your pride and take that first step. Try not to let the anger seeth in you, or to use other events as convenient excuses to vent and lashout. I find the sooner we deal with it, and at a time when both of u are calm and less emotional, the better.

6) We need to make couple time happen

Time for ourselves doesn’t automatically happen these days, especially after kids.

We make it a point to call for time-out, relax at a new cafe (or an old favourite one) and share the things that we’ve learnt at work, or from books we’ve read, or the things that are causing us worry and stress.

Sometimes we also go on a couple jog or walk, which allows us to keep healthy and tune in to each other at the same time.

From time to time, we do embark on couple devotional books (admittedly a lot less now as we’re both caught up with work and family). Such books are useful as they serve to remind us of our joint purpose, and suggest practical ways to enhance the relationship, or to tackle certain problems.

7) Respect is paramount to the man

Ask any man what’s most important to him, and you’l probably get the same answer. The reason why men are created to strive, to pursue, to attain achievements at work, is because of their innate need for respect and significance.

At home, give him the respect he deserves (even when he does not deserve it), and help your children do the same. He will appreciate you all the more for it.

What is one thing that your marriage has taught you?

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